The Christmas Conspiracy
by Eva Pasco
During the Capitol years
1962-65, our ultimate all American summer band, the Beach Boys, produced their hit holiday singles, "The Man
with all the Toys" and "Little Saint Nick." I had believed in Santa Claus up until 1961, a youngster hanging
onto visions of sugar plums while practically sledding into a double digit year. My mother still has all of my
Sears Santa portraits as black and white, sepia toned, and living color proof. It didn't matter that the latter
part of these years were spent engaging in debates at the school lunch table or outside at recess about whether
Santa was real or not. None of the logical arguments set on blowing out the candles of true believers were ever
vocalized: reindeer can't fly; it would be nearly impossible for Santa to deliver toys to every boy and girl in the
world; the union would have shut down operations at the North Pole once the elves aired their grievances about
working such long hours under sweatshop conditions.
1961 was my year of jolly
Saint Nick enlightenment: There's a tale about Christmas/That you've all been told/ And a real
famous cat all dressed up in red/ He spends all year workin' out on his
The man with all the toys who specified I leave Santa a glass
of chocolate milk alongside the cookie on the kitchen counter was my own dear dad. Chocolate milk should have
been a dead giveaway as my father never drank plain milk. Nevertheless, I suspended my disbelief so as not to
spoil it for my younger sister....which leads me to The Christmas Conspiracy...
Every year my father
would take us to Carver, Massachusetts
for Edaville Railroad's Festival of Lights. We'd board the heated fantasy train and ride past more than seven
million twinkling holiday lights spread throughout the two mile round trip. The train would roll by Santa's
workshop and stop so its passengers could get some hot cocoa.
Well, that year my
father also got the notion to drive us to Boston on Christmas Eve where
Santa was purported to have been holed up to greet boys and girls. The scenic ride through the
outskirts of Boston offered sights to behold. It was a time when cities had
enough discretionary funds so garland and lights swung from pole to pole, forming festive
arches. Manger sets could be on display without inciting protests. The greeting "Merry
Christmas" could be uttered without anyone feeling slighted.
My sister cast a pall
over my father's good intentions as soon as he pulled out of the driveway. She kept whining her concerns about
whether we'd be home in time for her to get to sleep before Santa came down our chimney. Both my mother and
father did their best to convince her that Santa doesn't get started until just before midnight...jingling their
logic all the way while my sister's lips trembled in a frayed attempt to hold back tears.
By the time we arrived at
Boston Commons, having spotted Santa mingling with children who'd also made the pilgrimage, my father plowed
through the throngs of people. He approached the red-suited fella, pointed to where we stood, and bent Santa's
ear long enough to persuade him to tell my sister he wouldn't be taking off for the star studded skies until
much later. When it was her turn to tick off her wish list and tell him what a good girl she'd been all year,
Santa allayed her fears and winked at my father.
If we thought we'd have a
silent night during the drive back home, no way. My sister was a chatterbox reiterating how Santa himself told
her she had plenty of time to get to bed....cuz “The Man with all the Toys”--he don't miss no one.